Best laid plans

This year has not been going the way I planned.

In January, I had a clear vision about how I wanted the year to pan out. I would continue to grow my business and work on those endless (and seemingly useless) agency applications.

I had moved past the wide-eyed, optimistic stage. I had realised how hard freelancing really is, but I was determined to keep going and excited about what would happen.

When I ended up teaching French for the first half of the year, I was less than enthusiastic about being diverted away from these plans. The French teacher in a local school suddenly left after the Christmas holidays and the school asked me to fill in. I reluctantly agreed.

But I have to admit I learnt a lot from the experience. Patience, mostly. I realised every experience is what you make it.

Planning and marking are the two things teachers dislike the most. But once I knew my students, I enjoyed planning for them and thinking of ways to help them progress. Marking was still boring but I got faster and found ways to make it bearable.

I seriously considered changing professions and teaching full-time. What put me off is that teachers, in this country at least, are overworked and struggle to find a work-life balance. Their holidays are often spent planning and stressing, and they are constantly subject to new policies and schemes.

I knew I would no longer have time for the things I enjoy, the things that fulfil me and keep me going: language learning, writing, and translation.

I am very grateful for the lessons I learned as a teacher and for the people I met. As a freelancer, it’s useful to have several strings to your bow. I know that door is open for me should I wish to change paths.

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Beautiful leaving flowers from the school

Since completing my teaching spell, I have renewed energy and enthusiasm for my freelance activities. Juggling teaching, translation and other activities was exhausting. I initially loved the variety in my week but quickly got tired of it. I craved stability and routine.

Now I’m back to freelancing for a content marketing company and I’ve been doing more copywriting than translation; this was another unexpected development – not that I’m complaining. This position allows me to set aside time for Spanish lessons and for developing my Gujarati. And I hope to finally set a date for my driving test some time soon!

In a recent blog post, Lucinda Brooks of eCPD Webinars talked about the unexpected turns in her life that brought her to where she is today. She traces back her experiences to her grandmother’s love for swimming in the sea – a love that took the family to Tarragona in Spain.

She asked other translators to recount how chance events created new openings in their lives. She notes that, a knowledge of other languages was the key to those new openings. And for me, that is the most important thing.

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‘The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.’ – Eleanor Roosevelt

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A recent day out in Bournemouth
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